Gretchen Rubin

A Happiness Lesson from My Daughters’ School Motto to “Go Forth Unafraid.”


I’ve mentioned many times how much I love all teaching stories, koans, parables, aphorisms, maxims, epigrams, proverbs, and the like -- anything that crams a big idea into a small space.

And for that reason, I've always been intrigued by school mottoes.

Recently, my older daughter graduated, which was a huge moment for her -- and for me too.

Her school's motto is “Go forth unafraid.” It’s part of the school song: “We go forth unafraid/Strong with love and strong with learning…” It’s deeply embedded in the school culture.

During the graduation ceremony, that motto was projected on a giant screen above the students' heads.

And as I sat in the audience and watched all the seniors receive their diplomas, I thought, “That's what I want for my daughter, and it's what I want for myself too. Go forth unafraid.

What was your school motto? Did it make a serious impression on you?

As I said, I think about my school motto all the time. By contrast, when I asked my husband Jamie about his school motto, he couldn't remember it! I guess not everyone is as entranced by mottoes as I am.

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